I don't know if any of you are watching the Olympics (frankly, I was torn between wanting to cheer on our athletes and wanting to boycott China), but tonight I caught parts of the Chinese 'womens' gymnastics. Now, the commentators pointed out several times that the rules state the athletes must be 16 (or turn sixteen during the same calendar year as the Olympics) to compete.
If any of those Chinese gymnasts are sixteen, I'll eat the manuscript I just printed out. One girl looked like she was maybe ten, at the most. The oldest looking girl might be fourteen, but that's pushing it. But all of their passports say they're sixteen, so they have to be sixteen right?
Yeah. That's what I was thinking.
And another thing. They were talking about one of the Chinese female divers. They made it sound cute when they told the story about her learning to dive. Supposedly, she was terrified of diving (so, yeah, diving was her choice... right), so her coach threw her off the diving board.
Isn't that the cutest thing you've ever heard??? :GAG: Sure, we've all heard stories about fathers who threw their sons into the water to teach them to swim. Barbaric, yes, but usually it works and knowing how to swim is one of those things that could save your kid's life someday. I don't advocate the method, but I see the reasoning there. And besides, it's the PARENT doing it. Not some coach/dictator tossing your baby out into space from a diving board so they can learn to dive and maybe someday be an Olympic athlete. Diving is not a skill one needs to stay alive in the real world.
Pretty warped, if you ask me. The American journalist who did the story and tried to make it sound like a Norman Rockwell painting should have her head examined. Seriously.
Don't get me wrong. The Chinese athletes are pretty amazing. You would be, too, if you were picked to be an athlete at the age of three, whether you wanted to or not, and then made to practive most of your waking hours. Our athletes may not necessarily be better athletically, but I think it's more amazing that they accomplish the same things and still possess a little thing we like to call 'free will'.
Is it just me or is this reminscent of the USSR's Olympic athletes back in the 70s and 80s? Funny how China keeps trying to seem like the new capitalist paradise over there, but they keep looking like the communist country they are. (I even heard China referred to as the Peoples Republic of Capitalism, which just made me want to gag.) Want to emulate America? Let people think for themselves for a change. If the little girl doesn't want to jump off the diving board, let her find something else to do with her life. If the other children want to be athletes, let them be athletes for themselves - because it truly makes them happy, not because it will make their country seem more important in the eyes of the world. Feh.
I'm just sayin'.
(Oh, and for a perfect example of the American Olympic athlete, look at Michael Phelps. The man is awesome. Poetry in water. He's a great athlete, a nice guy, and easy on the eyes to boot. Plus, he's drug-free - and he proves it several times a week. If I was a kid, he would be my idol.)
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